2022 Dynastar M-Free 99 Ski Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2022 Dynastar M-Free 99 Ski Review

For 2021, Dynastar completely overhauled their all-mountain and freeride ski collections, giving us the new M-Pro, M-Tour, and M-Free lines. Over the last year, we’ve talked about quite a few of those, perhaps most notably in our full reviews of the M-Pro 99 and M-Free 108. There were rumors, nay, whispers of another ski that we unfortunately didn’t get for the 2021 season, but has now been officially announced for the 2021/22 season, and that ski is the M-Free 99. Before the 99, the M-Free line consisted of just 2 skis, the 108 and the 118. It didn’t feel complete, although both of those skis are really good. It just felt like there was something missing, something narrower. We asked Dynastar that question at some point last season and they somewhat reluctantly did tell us that we would get this ski, but we had to keep our mouths shut… until now!

So, as you might expect, the M-Free 99 follows the same trend as the M-Free 108 and 118. The same build, a very similar shape, and overall, a relatively similar skiing experience too. Let’s start with construction, as that was a big focus when Dynastar was developing these new skis. The M-Free 99 is built using Dynastar’s Hybrid Core, specifically a combination of poplar wood and a low-density PU material. The wood is positioned in the center of the ski, longitudinally. The PU material is positioned along the edges of the ski. This construction is designed to shed weight, while also providing a smooth, damp feel. The poplar wood provides stability, energy, and some power. The PU keeps the weight down, while also giving the ski a more damp, smooth feel than you’d get without it. I like this construction, and I think it’s a cool way to give a ski some vibration damping without including metal. More and more manufacturers are getting really good at that, and it’s cool to see how their strategies change from brand to brand. It’s worth noting here that the M-Free 99 does replace the Menace 98, and one of the things that jumped out to us in comparing it to that ski is the difference in weight. The M-Free 99 is about 1850 g per ski in the 179 cm length, while the Menace 98 is 2100 g in the comparable length, 181 cm. That’s quite a bit lighter.

AT A GLANCE


2022 Dynastar M-Free 99 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

171, 179, 185 cm

17 m at 179 cm

128 / 99 / 120 mm

Poplar, PU, Torsion Box

Playfulness, Maneuverability, Versatility


Then comes the shape. In the M-Free 108, we talked about its long rocker, significant splay, and smooth early taper shape. That all pretty much carries over to the M-Free 99, just in a narrower waist width. Both of these skis actually have reasonably high-rise camber underfoot, which I think is important to their performance, but the rocker is likely the first thing you’ll notice. In the 179 cm M-Free 99 (which measures out to about 178 cm), there is 36 cm of tip rocker and 34 cm of tail rocker. Having a freestyle background, I get pretty excited when those numbers are close to each other. That, by a rough calculation, means the center of the camber is about 1 cm back from the true center mark on the ski. That would allow someone to go pretty close to true center without completely messing up the performance of the ski. For reference, the recommended mount point is 7 cm back from true center. I tested the M-Free 99 in the 179 cm length a little bit forward from that, around 6 cm back from true center. More on mount points later. Those rocker stats also indicate that almost 40% of the ski is rocker, which is a significant amount, and is another indicator of the intended feel of this ski.

And what is that feel, you might be asking yourself? Surfy, smeary, agile, quick, playful… The list goes on and on. I could use a lot of different adjectives to describe the M-Free 99. Let’s start with groomers, as we often do in these reviews. The M-Free 99, despite its abundant tip and tail rocker, actually carves reasonably well on firm snow. That’s definitely not a focus of its design, but it does it. As we’ve talked about with other skis, there is a limit to how much you can pressure the tip and forebody of a ski. This isn’t something you’re driving into turns with a lot of fore-aft movements, rather one that prefers to be skied in a lateral, side to side manner when linking carves. When doing so, it feels surprisingly strong and relatively quiet. I give a lot of credit to the combination of poplar and PU. Poplar provides some springiness, while the PU keeps the vibrations down. For me, when carving, it always came down to balance. If I was centered on the ski, I could ski fairly fast and somewhat aggressively. Allow your weight to get too far forward, however, and you’re going over the handlebars.

2022 Dynastar M-Free 99 Ski Review: Camber Profile Image

Now, some might consider that a downside, and I suppose it is in some ways, but that’s not what this ski was designed for. Skiers that want to drive the forebody of their skis into a turn are likely better off on an M-Pro 99, which definitely lets you do that. Where the M-Free really shines is how it takes that ability to carve and pairs it with incredibly easy edge release and a relatively symmetrical feel for skiing switch. Short, skidded turns are incredibly easy on the M-Free 99. It’s washy, but not too washy. It lets you release your edge and allows the ski to easily swing around, but it’s not so much of a noodle that it doesn’t want to go back the other way eventually. Skis that are too drifty in that regard can be kind of boring, but the M-Free makes some really nice rhythmic, skidded turns. Then there’s the whole skiing switch side of things. That got me excited about the M-Free 108 last season, and the same is true on the 99. This ski loves to be skied switch, and loves to pop little 180s all over the mountain. I do think I would go ever further forward from the recommended spot if I got to keep a personal pair of these skis (hint… hint… Dynastar…). I expect I would settle around 2-3 cm back from true center, another 3 cm forward from where I tested it. That would make it even more balanced for spins and skiing switch, but would take away some directional performance, so that wouldn’t be for everyone. It would just pain me to skip over that capability.

Then we get to off trail performance, soft snow capabilities, etc. It really is a mini M-Free 108 and has a ton of the same characteristics in soft snow and un-groomed terrain. Again, just like on a groomer, the edge release is so incredibly easy. It’s also relatively lightweight. When you combine the shape with the low swing weight, it’s the type of ski that will make you feel like a better skier in tight, technical terrain. It’s so easy to maneuver, even after making a mistake or something like that. I always like that characteristic in a ski… the ability to recover. We talked about that recently when discussing the Rustler 10, and I think the M-Free 99 is another ski that does that really well. It’s not punishing if you make a mistake, rather it’s so quick to throw sideways and so light that it actually feels like it slows down time and allows you to get back on track, back on your line.

2022 Dynastar M-Free 99 Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 1 2022 Dynastar M-Free 99 Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 2

This ski also floats super well for being 99 mm underfoot. The tip and tail shape is basically ideal for soft snow. The smooth taper never feels catchy, but it also leaves the tips and tails wide enough that you feel like you’re getting some good float up there, rather than just underfoot. If it had more aggressive taper, it wouldn’t be as good in soft snow in my opinion. The M-Free 108 is definitely the superior powder ski with its extra 9 mm of width, but the 99 is still really good. For someone that doesn’t like to switch skis all the time and likes to have a smaller quiver, it’s enough float for most powder days, especially for a skier based on the east. A western skier would almost definitely have a wider ski for really deep days, but the 99 would be a great daily driver for a playful skier.

Overall, I think it’s a great ski, and I think there are a lot of skiers that would enjoy skiing it. There’s some freestyle influence in it to the point where you’ll probably even see some people use it in the park (especially considering it’s replacing the Menace 98, which is often spotted in the park). On the other hand, it would also be a valuable tool for someone who really enjoys skiing tight, technical lines. You certainly don’t have to be a freestyle guy to enjoy it. I could see a whole slew of different skiers here in Stowe benefitting from its performance, from college kids all the way up to legendary locals in their 60s who still beat you to the lines they cut 20-30 years ago. I also want to end with a quick note on the Menace 98. We like that ski a lot too, but there are a TON of similarities between it and the Rossignol BLACKOPS Holyshred. As that ski carries forward to 2022, and considering Rossi and Dynastar are sister brands, I think it makes a whole lot of sense that Dynastar went in a different direction with the M-Free 99.

2022 Dynastar M-Free 99 Ski Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Jeff Neagle on 03/04/21

16 thoughts on “2022 Dynastar M-Free 99 Ski Review

  1. Hi guys,
    thank you so much for your great reviews.

    In addition to my 165 atomic slaIom ski I am searching for second ski, replacing my 2014 rossignol soul 7. Skiing about 40% off piste/tour and 60% resort.
    Found the line vision 179/98 to be very light to go up which is great, playful and versatile, good in trees and o.k. on groomers.
    Or do I give up to much on the downhill, is it stable enough? Would the Dynastar m free 99/179 or Line Sic Day 104 /179 be the better choice? Which one would you prefer of these last two?
    I am an advanced, sometimes an expert skier, 50y/152lb/5,8ft. Never in a parc, not necessarily searching for the fastest piste.

    Thanks for your thoughts

    1. HI Karl!
      I think either the Sick Day or the M-Free are better downhill choices versus the Vision, with the Sick Day having the most stability and float while the M-Free is a very playful ski, it's still got some power underfoot, which I didn't necessarily find to be true about the Vision. I think the Sick Day is your stronger performer, while the M-Free is your playful choice. The M-Free is a closer replacement to the Soul, I'd say. Have fun!
      SE

  2. I just finished a 2 week West trip (Targhee/Bridger/Big Sky). I skied a 99 M-Free for all but 1day (out of 12 days). I agree with this review. The ski was amazing fun in all snow conditions I encountered. I tend to ski a lot of tight/steep lines when possible and found the 99 delivered. Yes a 108 would be a better choice for deep pow but I seldom get to ski really deep. I have been skiing the 99 M-Pro since last Feb. I found the M-Free to be a much more “playful” ski. I mounted Shift bindings on the M-Free for side country excursions. Can’t wait to get some skin laps on them. I highly recommend the 99 M-Free!!!!!👍😜⛷

  3. Awesome review! How does the amount of tip/tail rocker compare to the 108 and the 118? I have the 118 and absolutely love it, but I'm looking for a spring/mixed conditions ski as well.

    1. HI Forest!
      Relatively comparative. Very dramatic in all M-Free skis, as the rocker seems to be taking the place of the twin tip shape, so it's very long, but not very abrupt. This causes them all to feel very smooth. I'd imagine this will be a fantastic spring ski as well. Have fun!
      SE

  4. Great review! I'm on a Rossi Blackops Escaper this season and was hoping it would be a little more playful than it is. It carves really nice but the tails don't release as quick as I'd like in the trees. The M-Free 99 looks like what I was really looking for. What are your thoughts? Also, how do you think this compares to the DPS Foundation Wailer 100, I heard it's coming back.

    1. HI Chuck!
      You'll get better release from both the Wailer and the M-Free versus the more directional Escaper. You might be sacrificing a bit in the carving and precision department if you go M-Free, but not a whole lot. Have fun!
      SE

  5. Great review - looks like a really fun surfy ski.

    I am looking for a softer-snow orientied, playful all-mountain ski thats easy to slide across the fall-line in softer conditions. These seem very promising and I was wondering how they compare in playfulness/surfiness to skis like the Völkl Revolt 104, Bent Chetler 100, and the K2 Reckoner 102, (potentially also the Salomon QST 98)?

    Thank you for the great work!

    1. HI Sebastian!
      Very similar rocker profile to the Salomon, although not quite as strong underfoot. Reckoner is a bit on the softer and more playful side along with the Revolt, while the Chetler's underfoot camber does give it a snappy feel. The Reckoner and Revolt are the surfiest, with these right behind. All very nice choices!
      SE

  6. Exciting review! Looking for a ski in this width range (96mm-100mm) for next season to complement my 2018 K2 Marksman and 2014 Line Chronic. The M-Free 99 is high on my list for a quick, surfy ski along with the new Salomon QST 98 and the new J Skis Masterblaster (99mm underfoot for next season apparently).

    1. Hi Brandon!
      The Dynastar and Salomon have very similar rocker profiles, with the Salomon being a bit heavier, quieter, and more stable in a carved turn or high-speed format. I found the shovels of the M-Free to be on the soft side, but I'm 6/3 220 pounds. I did not find the Salomon to lack strength or power anywhere, so it depends if you're focusing on that surfy playfulness or not. I have not been on the J, so I don't think I can comment on that, but people do seem to love them! Have fun!
      SE

  7. Really nice review - quite fond of the ski.

    Can you compare it with Nordica enforcer free 104? Is it stability vs playfulness? Is the weight similar?
    I am a intermediate - advanced skier, 6,3ft, 202lbs that like skiing around (offpiste) and on groomers with a daily run in the park, Europe based.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Ferre!
      The M-Free 99 is lighter and more flexible. If you're looking for more stability, the 104 is the way to go. The 99 is a great ski--easy and fun with good power for its flex and weight, but it's no Enforcer 104 in terms of strength. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thanks for the reply!
        I just noticed that the max size of the m-free 99 is 185cm, while the m-free 108 is 192cm. As my length is 193cm, would you advise to go with the m-free 108 since i'm a heavy skier and both skis don't differ that much?

        Thanks!

        1. Ferre,
          As long as most of your skiing is done in softer snow, the 108's width won't be much of an issue. I wouldn't say the 185 felt short in terms of length, but the shovel is on the flexible side, so it does ski smoother when you're centered on the ski rather than driving the tips. It's amazing how similar the skis perform, just in a wider shape. If you're looking for the longer ski, I'd go with the 108 for sure. Have fun!
          SE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *